Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier will both become free-agents next summer. If Kyrie leaves Boston, then the Celtics should look no further than Rozier to replace him
Before the Quicken Loans arena janitors had the chance to clean the opposing locker room after the Warriors game 4 victory, rumors surrounding Kyrie Irving‘s future in Boston began to surface. On his podcast, Yahoo’s Chris Mannix talked about the Celtics organization’s possible viewpoint on the situation.
"I think they’re scared. I think they’re scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it – about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room – from what I was told."
ESPN’s Ian Begley, who covers the Knicks, also recently backed up this report.
The rumors didn’t stop there, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Kyrie and Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler have talked about joining forces in the east, with the New York Knicks being an obvious destination. Butler also hits unrestricted free-agency next summer.
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While the Celtics organization and their fans should be worried about their star point guard potentially leaving Boston next summer, the team has a perfect replacement if he does: Terry Rozier.
With Irving out for the playoffs, Rozier had an opportunity to prove himself – and he did exactly that. In 19 playoff games, the third-year guard averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists, showing the potential to be a solid starter on one of the leagues premier teams.
While his shooting numbers weren’t exactly awe-inspiring, he did have a heavy workload as the team relied on him more than they probably would have hoped to.
Rozier is up for a substantial pay-raise as his rookie contract expires next offseason. It would be in the Celtics best interests to extend him the qualifying offer while awaiting Irving’s decision.
If Kyrie decides to commit to the Celtics long-term, then the Celtics would renounce Rozier’s rights, allowing him to walk.
If Irving does indeed walk, then the Celtics would have the ability to match any offer that other teams assemble for Rozier’s services, making him the teams starting point guard of the future.